Eight competitors line up for Great Air Race

14 August, 1919

Australia’s acting Prime Minister William Watt tells parliament it’s understood that eight entries have been received in the Great Air Race from Britain to Australia.

Those entries include Capt. Cedric Howell (SA) in a Martinsyde machine; Capt. George Matthews (SA) in a Sopwith machine; Capt. G.H. (later Sir Hubert) Wilkins (SA) in a Blackburn Kangaroo and Lieut. Roger Douglas (Qld) in an Alliance aircraft.

As Melbourne’s Argus newspaper reports, the race rules have been drawn up by the Royal Aero Club in London, but the commencement of the flights has been delayed pending the selection of landing places between India and Australia. No crew is permitted to leave England until 8 September.

Capt. Ross Smith and his mechanics Wally Shiers and Jim Bennett are at this stage still in India, after taking a ship as far south as Timor to survey possible landing sites for a flight from Calcutta to Darwin.